MEXICO CITY, June 18 — Mexico’s 1-0 victory over reigning World Cup champions Germany on Sunday sent the country into a frenzy, with many fans now certain that their team can make it further than ever before in Russia 2018.
Before Sunday’s match, Mexico had never defeated Germany in an official competition.
“Mexico played the best match it has played in many World Cups,” Jaime Alvarez, a 36-year-old public servant, told Xinhua.
“What I didn’t like was that they played defensively from very early on. I would have tried to take them forward, it is easier to win when you have the opponent in their own half,” he added.
Mexico beat Germany 1-0 thanks to a powerful shot by Hirving Lozano in the 35th minute.
After a first half when Mexico surprised Germany by pressuring them across the field, in the second half, the Mexican squad was more careful, staying mostly in defense and waiting for counterattacks.
“It seemed to be a very good structure at first, always in front, and the pause came at the right moment,” said Gabriela Rodriguez, 31, wearing a Mexican shirt.
“The final moments was very tense, there were many errors by Mexico in the second half that could have been avoided and opportunities that were not seized upon,” she added.
Alvarez and Rodriguez agreed that, if Mexico can maintain this level of play against Sweden and South Korea, it can break its curse and finally reach the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Russia, which it has never done since 1986.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto congratulated the squad on Twitter, saying “Mexico competes and wins against the best in the world.”
After the party ended, dozens of Mexican fans congregated at the Angel of Independence in Mexico City, where locals customarily celebrate football successes.
The victory was also acknowledged by Germans in attendance. Tom Wiecking, 44, said his country’s squad had had no ideas in the game, while Mexico showed good organization and created the more dangerous opportunities.
Wiecking said that all World Cup champions seem to fall apart when defending their title.
“We saw it with Spain, with Brazil, all those defending the title don’t do well and have a disaster,” he explained. “Germany will not make it very far. Mexico will go further than Germany.”
Mexico will now play South Korea on June 23 and Sweden on June 27.